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from illegals to shadow people. it's tuesday, february 5th, and this is "now." >> joining us msnbc political analyst and former rnc chairman the notorious michael steele, senior editor at "the atlantic" garansce and queen bee of the joy reid. president obama is making a full court press on policy. after yesterday's speech on gun safety, today he is focussing on immigration. the president is meeting with labor leaders at the white house right now and will speak with
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business leaders this afternoon. >> members are in class. the judiciary hearing on immigration features testimony from duke, harvard, and nyu professors. republican committee chair bob goodlot says the purpose of the hearing is to educate freshmen congressman who know very little about the complexities of reform. lesson number one is already clear. move past last year's republican rhetoric on self-deportation and electrified fences. >> this debate is often emotionally charged. that's because it's not about abstract statistics and concepts, but rather about real people with real problems trying to provide a better life for their families. >> we seek to harmonize two foundational preaccepts. number one is humanity. number two is respect for the rule of law. >> humane rhetoric? yes, but humane policies? question mark. republican leadership is transcribinging a decidedly softer tone on immigration, but the party will still have to
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contend with members like carrie who said, "what are you seeing here is a shameless political ploy to buy new voters. democrats want the votes, and republicans the cheap labor. immigration reform shouldn't be about buying off lawbreakers so they'll consider becoming republican." joining us now so give us the straight dope is die hard kanye west fan nbc's luke russert. i say that, my friend, because we couldn't play the actual track, but i wanted america to know. >> because you won't pay the money for the royalties. it's okay. someday we'll get there. >> i didn't say that. luke, i -- we led into this with the promise of straight dope, and i ask you, my friend, what's going to happen in the house on immigration? as i highlighted just now, there are some members of the house caucus that seem, shall we say, not moving towards the center on this issue. eric cantor seems to be changing his song a little bit, and the hearings themselves would seem to indicate a party that wants to reform itself in ernest on
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reform. >> after the bipartisan agreement on the senate to a pathway to citizenship that was endorsed by marco rubio of all people, the onus is really on what the house of representatives will do. >> house speaker john boehner, he had three occasions. he declined to endorse a pathway to citizenship overtly. that doesn't mean he won't support it in the future, but he just sort of said, look, we need to set in the house to come together and work their will with legislation. what i can tell you is there's a bipartisan group in the house of representatives that is trying to craft literal legislation as we speak. what's the difference from that from what the senate was doing last week? well, the senate sort of had a framework of where they wanted to go. the house will have little legislation that will he they feel will be acceptable to both sides that perhaps would contain a pathway to citizenship. the main thing here is eric
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cantor at 1:00 p.m. is going to give a speech that sort of is trying to remake the gop in a softer lens, if you will. i read the excerpts of the speech. i can tell you if you look at that speech, eric cantor will be moving more towards the middle on immigration. that's all i can say. you see the speech actually at 1:00 p.m., then there's a sort of new tune. >> right here on msnbc. >> from the majority leader. >> luke, wait. before we get to the eric cantor remarks, which, of course, we can't really discuss, let's talk about the secret bipartisan group in the house. they may get more legislatively specific than the senate, which is surprising, i think, to a lot of people given the fact that you have really progressive voiz on immigration reform like ru ease gutierrez working along folks like raul labrador. where is the middle ground there? how does that work? >> well, i think where you'll see there is the idea of the
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pathway to sit sfwlenship if they feel they can get 65, 70, 80 of their members to join across with democrats, it's worth it to them in the long run in order to try and save the party, if you will, to try and grow the party and expand the electorate to move forward on this and not get hauled off down on a way they don't want to go by the most extreme 30 members here. what that plan will actually look like -- i mean, you have ru ease gutierrez, some of the conservative members from texas. i suspect there will be a pathway to citizenship. maybe it's a piecemeal approach. at least you have a way for kids that are brought here by their parents illegally to become sit sfwlenz. that seems to be where a lot of republicans want to go on that so they don't appear that they're mean-spirited. you also probably will see
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something in there about high skilled immigrant visas, and then something in there about border security, which is the main question we've been getting at. what is the border security that would be acceptable to house republicans? is it a drone, a fence with guns? you know, who knows? >> let's roll the sound. i mean, we have the clip. let's -- this is what herman cain proposed in 2011. >> to have a real fence 20 feet high with barbed wire electrified with a sign on the other side that says "it can kill you." >> let me bring in our panel here in new york. michael steele, that -- that herman cain sound, while highly amusing and ridiculous, is -- i mean, look, as luke says, the border piece of this, the
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security piece will probably be inextricably tied. i guess the question, is, a, if the rhetoric around security is this a case of one step forward, one step back? >> no, i don't think so. i mean, i think that luke has touched on some of the dine mechanics that are in play right now when you look at the players on the g po p side that are coming together to carve out something. obviously, the border security piece is a major foundational proponent of any reform effort. the key i've taken note of is the human side of it. recognizing there are human beings here. families and individuals. what the dance is going to be is how they bring those pieces together to make them actually a part of a broader plan that can work with the senate and what's been -- that rubio has been putting out on that end, and
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that also and the base will not just say y'all come. >> i don't think y'all come is being proposed by anybody. >> for a lot of folks that is what they fear is going to be proposed. that has to be addressed. the second piece that i think is very important and cannot be overlooked, whatever the leadership does, house, senate, doesn't matter, they've got to square that ultimately with the base. at the end of the day it all comes back home. if the folks on the ground don't feel it, it's not going to happen, and it's not going to happen or at least not happen the way they expect it to. >> luke just said we may be seeing the end of the hastert rule, which is a majority of the majority. i mean, it sounds sort of like they're going to try and go forward without parts of the base at least. >> i think they're going to have to. look, the republican are the guys that understand the electoral math are saying that we've got to not spurn hispanic voters.
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we have to stop saying things like illegals. it offends people. they finally figured it out. we have to change our lingo because we are afraid that texas may become a purple state. we have to try to get some of these people m republican party. i actually think that people who believe that are being a little bit too optimistic. i don't think that just some republicans getting on board with emgregs reform is going to solve the republican party's demographic problem with hispanic voters. i mean, if you look at polls, hispanic voters are trending democratic on issues. it isn't just about immigration. at least they have to stop saying offensive stuff like build moats with alligators and illegals. at least we're getting there. >> it's not a pan sea to joy's point. it's not a panacea. republicans don't think -- i will be careful what i say because some do think. >> some do. >> you know, you start down that road with hispanics, they'll jump on board. >> i think by and large, they have to make a move, and this is the beginning of those moves.
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>> the president is taking a multi-pronged approach to this, and i thought it was really interesting that he is meeting with labor leaders. we have not discussed, you know, the issues that concern the democrats visa vi immigration reform, but essential labor and guest worker permits, all of that is going to come to the fore in terms of discussion. he is also meeting with business leaders. what's been weird is that the republicans who are theoretically the party of business, have not really made the economic argument for reforming immigration. david brooks wrote january 31st, the forlorened pundit doesn't seen have to make the humanitarian case that it would be a great victory for human dignity. the cold economic case by itself is so strong. >> that's absolutely the case. if you look at the ram trucks and the american farmer, 70% of people who work on farms in america were born in mexico. the american farmer is a mexican-american. that's something we need to sort of accept and realize and deal with.
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>> border security conversation continues to be a conversation about who doesn't belong in america, and it's a conversation about how do we keep people out? it's a conversation about the other. to the extent that's the first thing people are hearing really loudly i think that can be undermining for the gop of what they're hoping to achieve. >> that's what i meant by the one step forward one step back thing. if we're talking about keeping them all out or sending them back that then undermines the discussi discussion. >> can they -- can they talk about border security in a way that is not alienating the very
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same audience they're trying to endear themselves to? >> and that is going to be the key to whether or not they can move forward in this, but not being scathed by democrats. i mean, democrats are in a good position here because they're on the right side of the wedge issue of immigration right now for our team. from my conversation with a lot of folks close to the gop leadership, the big fear about this is, all right, we believe we have enough people that are going to modernize and be accepting of a guest worker program, accepting of illegal immigrant children getting citizenship, perhaps being accepting to a pathway to citizenship, but what if we go forward and you hear some things said by some of our members that are deeply hurtful to the latino community? you sort of saw that in a different case in the senate elections in 2012 with murdock and akin about rape and women's rights and how that went forward. there is a fear that something outlandish could be said and that outlandish comment could then become representative of the entire gop party, and they do not want that. there definitely is a fear of that, alex.
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one thing that's important about big business and their support for immigration, one thing that nancy pelosi likes to tell and one thing i've seen personally on dlil, you'll get some of these republican businessmen from central part of california, arizona, texas, florida, and they all come here and say, hey, we need to fix this. at least for guest workers. if you take away these immigrants, as you have seen in alabama that had a very strict immigrant law, the crop product gets killed and profits go down. >> that could also be used as an umbrella to get some of the raucus members of house in line, and so far it's not a humanistic article or about the other. it's about cold, hard cash. look, keep your boat shoes firmly planted many the ground, because we're going to try and get you to talk to us about gun
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reform after the break. >> indeed. >> and after we come back, doubts grow about the possibility of getting an assault weapons ban passed in congress, but you would not know that from listening to president obama. we will examine the 1994 law and the case for a new legislative fight next on "now." ♪ if it wasn't for you ♪ don't know what i'd do ♪ i'd have nothing to prove [ male announcer ] introducing the celebration diamond collection. zales is the diamond store. let love shine. so i used my citi thankyou card to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes? and with all the points i've been earning, i was able to get us a flight to our favorite climbing spot even on a holiday weekend.
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we should restore the ban on military style assault weapons and ten round limit for magazines, and that deserves a vote in congress because weapons of war have no place on our
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streets or in our schools or threatening our law enforcement officers. our law enforcement officers should never be outgunned on the streets. >> president obama is not backing down from the most controversial aspects of his gun safety recommendations. renewing the ban on assault weapons and high capacity making sfwleenz, but already senate democrats are recordly preparing to sacrifice the assault weapons ban to give broader reform a chance at survival. a top aid to majority leader harry reid told the "wall street journal" that the bill will not include a ban on military style weapons. members continue to vilify efforts at increasing gun safety in a way that only they can. >> they demonize people who are legal gun owners and obama, oh, look at hem. he cares about the children. screw you. you think we don't care about the children? you're the one who won't do anything about the mentally ill. >> 99.99% of the gun owners of
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america are wonderful people that you are hanging around with here today. would you leave us the hell alone? go after the nut jobs. go after the murderers because i don't know any. >> joy, let's talk about this. when you lead in with ted nugent and ann coulter -- >> doesn't get much better. >> always so much to talk about. insofar as we need to come together to get anything enacted. it does seem like the republican party or those in the conservative wing of the republican party have dug their heels in in a firm fashion. >> right. >> gin that, what did you make of the president's, we'll call it, push on the assault weapons ban yesterday? >> no, you know what, i think it's important theme atically because everyone understands the ar-15 is now the weapon of choice of mass murderers, and i think that symbolically a lot of people who want gun control say, you know, you have to get at those guns. how can you not? if you talk to democrats on the hill, i think people mostly will tell you that the most likely thing probably is background
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checks. that's something everyone agrees on, and we have to remember, look, assault weapons like the ar-15 are right now the top-selling product in the gun industry. if you are a harry reid or a republican with a lot of gun retailers in your district or in your state, they're telling you, this is what we're selling. we're not selling more shotguns. we're selling more handguns, and we're selling a lot of ar-15s. you can't come at them because the nra is there to represent the people who sell guns for a living. >> luke, you're still here with us, my friend. in terms of the sort of realities, the legislative realities here, it sounds like the assault weapons ban is going to be the sacrificial lamb, and it sort of has to be to give moderate "democrats -- "moderate democrats" cover to get further reform enacted. so are you bullish on the idea of universal background checks making its wau through congress? >> bullish on the term of universal background checks? i don't necessarily know about that. i think you will see the terminology be expanded
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background checks in some capacity moving forward. what those look like we're still unclear. again, i go back to house majority leader eric cantor who runs the floor and is in charge of what legislation radio go before the house gop. he recently said he would be open to sort of changing federal law to match up with what you have seen in the state of virginia, which after the virginia tech massacre, you saw more on the lines of trying to get mental health and mental health records tied into gun background checks. you can move on that area. again, though, i think it's very much of a piecemeal approach from anything out of the house gop, and the big sweeping gun reforms that some folks even thought were possible after newtown was speaker boehner. he said he would be open to putting some of biden's proposals moving them forward in the house. i don't think you're going to see anything sweeping. there's a lot of rank-and-file members on the republican side that don't want to see any changes to the status quo, except for maybe new enhanced background check system and what does that look like? we're still unclear. >> wow. that is a decidedly -- i mean, if you are an advocate for gun
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safety laws in this country, especially in the wake of newtown and aurora, that's not a particular pessimistic read on what we're going to get. i do think it's probably worth going into the assault weapons ban and there's a lot of talk about how effective or ineffective it was. i mean, one of the -- we sort of went back into the archives as we are want to do on this show, and if you kind of look at the holes in the assault weapons ban, it was sort of -- and the fact that it was only enacted for ten years, it was almost guaranteed not to fail, but not to be that effective. the justice department review concluded the banned exemption of millions of preban assault weapons and large capacity magazines insured that the affects of the law would occur only gradually. it expired in 2004, so we'll never really know. that almost -- it seems like that's insured its demise even now when we're talking about it again. it's sort of this going back to this old chestnut that it didn't work then, so how could it now? >> absolutely. i think also the political support for it is just not there at the same level that it is for background checks or universal background checks.
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93% of people want that kind of a background check. >> given that, michael steele, if 93% of the public, nine in ten americans want background checks mosh scrutiny on who can buy a gun, then why is congress so far behind on this? >> because their interests lie elsewhere and write the campaign contribution that is they get to sustain themselves. you don't have to go that far. the senate just talk to harry reid. everybody focussing on house republicans. the democrats have their own issues in the senate. harry reid from the very beginning of this discussion was not out front going, oh, you know what, we really need to do this. >> he was -- on sunday he didn't -- he read dianne feinstein's -- >> he made it very clear that this was not going because of
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the interests in the state where they're building and manufacturing. the question i think that you ultimately come down to and luke and others may hear this on the hell is with this whole idea of the assault weapons ban per se, people are buying these guns. it's the number one seller, the ar-15. they're getting them in droves. they're not just buying one. they're buying three, four. does ban then lead to confiscation? you have now armed a significant portion of the gun population. >> well, 300 more americans own guns than cars. >> there were 1.5 million preban assault weapons. 25 million preban high capacity making sfwleenz, and 4.7 million high capacity magazines. >> speaking to the concern that
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people have and what i hear from the gun owners that i know and some of them who own some of these weapons, that is their legitimate fear that this becomes a slippery slope and becomes the door that opens and allows the federal government to come in -- >> and grab your guns. >> to grab your guns. >> no one has proposed that. first of all, what happened either with the assault weapons ban? first of all, praying matically, like there's no way they are going to start to send in atf agents. it's absurd. i mean, the other thing is when -- even when the first assault weapons ban happens, the industry, the lobbyists, come in and get so many guns exempted because the ar-15 is such a big seller, you know it will happen. the lobbyists will come in and get it excerpted. they'll get these different guns excerpted. it never happens that you have a total ban on assault weapons anyway, because, look, the gun industry is the only industry in the country that has a total liability exemption because they are the only -- every other defense contractor has a liability that they attach to them legally. they are exempt from lawsuits
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and everything because the lobby is so powerful at getting them just cleared off of the books in term of ow laws. it's absurd sfwloosh can i say one thing independent and parallel to this conversation about gun safety. the whole aim is to make our country safer, right? yet, the thing that we aren't talking about, this is such an important and lost point. reported by buzz feed. port was more highly correlated with gun deaths than almost any other state characteristic. more intensive interventions for mental illness might not have much affect on the overall gun violence rate given that severely mentally ill people are involved in only about 4% of violent crime. that is not something being described. there's a lot of analysis about how effective a gun ban would be of any kind. how effecttive mental health -- better mental health programs would be. at the end of the day -- the linkage tweej poverty and fwun violence is extraordinary, and it's not touched by in many your party, mr. steele. >> yours too. what annoy medicine even further is that the link between race
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and gun violence is not touched. now, i appreciate the president and the whole thing and coming out with newtown and all that, but over 500 young black men especially were killed in chicago alone in 2012. not between 2008 and 2012. in one year. now we're having this conversation. to me let's get real and honest about what this really means to the country and the impact it's having on people who are of color living in communities where these guns are filtered through and they're just left at their own -- to their own devices, and mama has to show up at the funeral home and pray and weep over this child because all of a sudden -- >> nothing legislatively -- well, actually, luke, let me go back to you. the one piece of this that may actually affect sort of urban violence is the trafficking bill. which seems to have bipart sfwlan support. >> that's correct. you could see that in terms of how guns are moved into communities.
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a lot of folks have seen just -- you mentioned that there's this fear that leads to more ush urban violence. ly going bah to what a republican told me a few weeks ago. there is a lot of fear among rank-and-file republicans on moving forward on anything related to guns because they're very weary of the pillars of what they believe are being taken out. a lot of them voted for a tax increase at the end of 2012. a lot of them are not moving to protect defense cuts right now that are tied to this sequester. there's also a belief within the republican party that you're going to see something happen in regards to immigration. that pillar can be moved out. one thing that's a very strong pillar for house gop is this idea of guns and gun rights. any time you talk about background checks and assault weapons bans and trafficking and everything out there, there is a significant fear amongst republicans that their pillars are eroding, and the gun one is the easiest one for them to hold on to to save them with their base all throughout the country. >> it is a -- this is a
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conversation really about the future of the republican party, i think, as much as it is about legislation. >> correct. >> luke russert, thank you, as always. we will work on the royalties for the next time. >> take care. >> coming up, the gop's efforts to decide elections by unpopular vote, and the tyranny of the minority. we will look at gerrmandering and the divide just ahead. this is $100,000. we asked total strangers to watch it for us. thank you so much. i appreciate it. i'll be right back. they didn't take a dime. how much in fees does your bank take to watch your money? if your bank takes more money than a stranger, you need an ally. ally bank.
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get younger looking skin fast. with new olay regenerist micro-sculpting cream. with 2 new anti-aging ingredients. visible wrinkle reduction starts day 1. see younger looking skin before you finish one jar. new from olay. debate continues over republican plans to redraw the electoral college map. wisconsin governor scott walker calls it an interesting idea, but he has concerns. michigan governor rick snyder was open-minded about it before he was against it, and virginia governor bob mcdonald opposed it from the beginning. >> both democrats and
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republicans have introduced that idea right they've lost a presidential election. i think it's a bad idea no matter who does it. it changes the mix. i mean, the winner take all is the right way to go. >> yes, but there are a host of other ways in which the gop is trying to cement conservative rule. we will discuss them when michael waldman joins us next on "now." ♪ they see me rollin' ♪ they hatin' ♪ patrolling they tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty ♪ ♪ tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty ♪ ♪ tryin' to -- [ woman ] hi there. why do we always have to take your mom's car? [ male announcer ] the security of an iihs top safety pick, the 2013 volkswagen tiguan. that's the power of german engineering. right now lease a 2013 tiguan for $219 a month. ♪ let's see what you got. rv -- covered.
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we all work remotely so this is a big deal, our first full team gathering!
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i wanted to call on a few people. ashley, ashley marshall... here. since we're often all on the move, ashley suggested we use fedex office to hold packages for us. great job. [ applause ] thank you. and on a protocol note, i'd like to talk to tim hill about his tendency to use all caps in emails. [ shouting ] oh i'm sorry guys. ah sometimes the caps lock gets stuck on my keyboard. hey do you wanna get a drink later? [ male announcer ] hold packages at any fedex office location. >> republicans have tried to manipulate in several blue states controlled by red legislatures. while those efforts went nowhere in florida, ohio, michigan,
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wiscons wisconsin. senate republicans in the keystone state are bringing the fwoel a floor this month that would apportion pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes based on the state's popular vote total. as a reminder, in 2012 president obama took all 20 of pennsylvania's electoral votes. under the gop scenario, he would have won just 12 with mitt romney taking the remaining eight. whether or not the game-changing effort gains national traction republican panic over an increasingly small piece over the electral remains a motivating factor in all manner of manipulation. in "new york magazine" jonathan chait said it is not merely an exercise in momentary part sfwlan tunism. it is the expression of a durable american political tradition of skepticism of democracy, or to put it more charitiably, skepticism of majority aaron democracy, and as the republican party comes to grips with an increasingly hostile public, this tradition is coming to the fore." joining us now to discuss is the president of the brennan center for justice, michael waldman. michael, i feel like there is
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panic out there among the electorate, and we bring you in as our panic expert. >> demographic panic. >> exactly. we hit the demographic panic button, and you appear in a cloud of smoke. i think jonathan raises -- it's an incredible piece. a really good analysis in "new york magazine." it puts this in a larger context as sort of republican maneuvers top cement more power for an increasingly smaller piece of the american electorate, which is to say almost the minority piece, and that not minority in the traditional sense, but minority in terms of white rural conservative voters who are no longer that representative of america. >> it really is the case. number one. the country is going through significant demographic changes, as it often has, but it's really happening in front of our eyes right now. and at the same time you see this sudden surge in new laws and new efforts to change the rules to make it harder for some people to vote, to entrench in a sense minority political power in ways that hadn't been the
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case before. and you might put those things together and say one is the reaction to the other. look, there have been other realignments. there have been other challenges to political parties, as you may know, i worked for bill clinton in the early 1990s, and the democrats felt locked out of the white house just as much as the republicans might think they are now. some of the changes clinton pushed were -- ultimately, that's the way to stay a robust party able to compete for a new country, and, you know, it is a new country. it's more diverse. it's more urban. we have had moves to the cities for years, but then they moved that to the suburbs. now even the suburbs are moving back to the cities. this is the future of the country, and we need everybody to be playing for that broad majority. >> when we talk about the republicans building a bigger tent, so we just finished talking about immigration, and
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it seems like whether it's eric cantor or marco rubio, there are voice that is want to be more inclusive. whether now or later. the reality, though, is that on a parallel track you have gop governors who are pursuing changes to the electoral college system. the redistricting in 2010 sort of cemented red versus blue rather than anything purple. there is the filibuster -- the use of the filibuster, which jonathan says basically is -- it's an unusually powerful tool as it is in the hands of senate republicans, and then there's the voter id stuff. on one hand, yes, the republican party wants to be more inclusive, but at the same time they're trying to manipulate the rules in a way that gives people less of a place at the table, if you like. >> that's politics. i don't know why we act so surprised when people engage in some of the art craft of obtaining, maintaining, and controlling power. you talk about redistricting. well, democrats held the congress for 40 years. how do you think they did that? >> no.
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>> it was through the redistricting process. having had a hand in creating the new maps and focussing on state legislative races around the country, like a wisconsin, the goal was to help the party get its ground game in place, organize and put in place those controls. you know, that's part of the process. where i draw the line, as i think the core point you're asking, a question you're asking, is this about really just power for the sake of power, or do you recognize how this is being perceived and being read by the public at large? >> and the very people that you were trying to entice into the -- >> trying to entice into the party feel alienated by a process in which you then change the rules of voting in the year of the vote where you change the rules of engagement of election results immediately after because you didn't like the results of the election. so that perception that's being create out there for the party is a very dangerous one and to michael's point, makes it i think much harder for the party to expand its base. >> the "new york times", joy,
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writes "several recent polls and studies suggest that long waiting times in some places repressed turnout in 201 and lines were longest in city where democrats outnumber republicans and it determine that is blacks and hispanics waited nearly twice in long to vote than whites." >> i don't think this is politics as usual. jim greer, the former head of the republican party in florida. he has given interviews where he has admitted that they literally talked about the fact that we can't get minorities to vote for us. let's find a way to make it hearteder for them to vote. this is an active policy. reince prebus expressed a lot of enthusiasm for things like voter id that would just keep those folks from the polls. there was an expression of shock by the -- paul ryan. oh, my goodness, the urban years turned out in such great numbers. what can we do about that? >> democrats are the urban party. republicans are essentially the rural party. now they're saying, well, we need to give rural people one and a half votes. we need to use this scheme to essentially make the electoral college reward people who live
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in places where there are fewer people. this is anti-democratic. it is not to me politics as usual. the republican governors get it. you just read off a list of governors that maybe not because they're up in 2014. they realize they might get punished. >> but governor mcdonald is not up in 2014. i think he made a principle argument. >> he is up in 2016. >> in a presidential year. >> he is a one-term governor. >> i'm saying -- >> yeah, but the two years between 2014 and 2016 is large in politics, and a lot more will happen. >> a lot of the governors should take heed of. that which you control today you may not come the next election. if the voters deem your actions to be hostile to their interests. >> we're also talking about a sort of -- i mean, this is -- these are sort of identity shifts, and i'll read an excerpt from "the atlantic" which talks about the urban-rural divide, and it says the new political divide is a stark division between cities and what remains of the country side.
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the difference is no longer about where people live. it's about how people live. in spread-out open, low density privacy or amid rough and tumble in your face and diverse xhooents communities that enforce a lower common denominator of tolerance among its inhabitants." >> absolutely. i think this is actually a kind of politics as usual in american history which is that the effort has always been to suppress and diminish the voting power of minorities in this country, and i think what we've seen in the last few years is that the democrats have more people to bring off the sidelines and into the voting booth. >> that's obama's coalition. >> right. it creates a problem for the republicans because they can't just, you know, organize their way to overcome this without changing position. >> let's look at this map, michael. this is a 3-d map that was not created by us here at msnbc, but is an awesome map, anyway. can we show someone? look at that. the skyrocketing growth is in urban and coastal areas, which
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is precisely where republicans are trying to suppress the vote or trying to make it have less sort of impact in the electoral college. >> it looks like the skyscrapers that people work in. >> yes. >> we've always had these divisions. there was a time when the democrats controlled the -- the white democrats controlled the rural south, but there were lots of urban republicans, like teddy roosevelt. >> right. >> and thomas duey in new york, and the fact is this is the country we are in, and the country we're moving to, and over time, yes, obviously there have been all these efforts to make it harder for people to vote, but over centuries the broad direction has been to make it easier to vote, and so it isn't the same as kind of normal gerrymandering which both parties try to do to try to make it suddenly harder for a lot of americans to vote, especially people of color, young people. really turns back the clock in a way that isn't just the normal kind of push and pull of everybody wants an advantage. >> let me ask you, too, in terms of -- >> i think it's a loser. >> in terms of changes to the electoral college, that seems
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fairly -- i mean, that's a real line m sand, and moving forward or walking back changes to law like that. >> that's a big one. look, i'm for national popular vote. i think we should have it by who wins the majority vote, but you can't just do it in states that tilt toward the republicans or the democrats. it's like telling one team they can use steroids and the other one they can't. >> yes. >> that's what's happened now. you know, that's what the new pennsylvania proposal is that in pennsylvania they would allocate it by proportional reputation, but in texas the republican presumably would still get all the votes. >> right. >> again, that -- it's like a good idea dressed up. it's a bad idea dressed up as a good idea. >> you can't put lipstick on a peg. didn't someone say that at one point? >> sure, you can. >> you can. >> sure, you can. it's a funky looking pig. >> michael waldman, our expert on the panic button, thank you, as always. coming up, president obama is set to kick off the unofficial sequester smes we are
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in the noex hour president obama will deliver a statement on the looming $85 billion in across the board cuts due to hit the country on march 1st. the president will call on members of congress to come up with a smaller package of spending cuts to replace the sequester in the short-term with the aem of giving congress a few precious months to work out a longer term fix.
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now, joy, it's not surprising to me the president is trying to go on record and say i'm against the sequester, but it sounds like that bad boy is going through. >> i have this conspiracy theory. they want the sequester. i'm telling you, i really do believe that certain members, particularly the republican party, want the sequester because it's budget cuts with no fingerprints. people will forget they voted for it in the first place, and they get their cuts. >> you are saying there's no other time that democrats are going to get defense cuts like this. >> oh, absolutely. this is a moment where everyone can just say, you know, we tried, and it's automatic, and it's not our fault.
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>> what is that live shot of? >> they had the parade this morning, and -- >> my eyes aren't what they used to be. >> b-town. >> i will say i am a skins fan. i grew up in washington d.c. >> i grew up in d.c. me too. >> it's heracy in some corners to say you supported the ravens in this game, but i have to say baltimore deserved the win. >> they deserved the win. they got the win. >> as a native washingtonian and a former lieutenant governor of the state of maryland -- >> let's not forget. >> -- they've tried to trip me up on that. i say i look forward to that ravens-redskins super bowl. we have half of it this time. we'll have the other half later. >> you're nothing if not a statesman. >> thank you. >> that is all for now. i'll see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific when i am joined by john podesta, michelle reid, author john meecham, and rick hertzberg. more of princeton university's
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3-d electoral map, which is incredible when you log to with alex. andrea mitchell reports is next. all stations come over to mission a for a final go.
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NOW With Alex Wagner
MSNBC February 5, 2013 9:00am-10:00am PST

News/Business. Alex Wagner. Forces driving the day's stories. New.

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